I was honestly blown away by this chapter’s 2018 Bid Day and I have a feeling you will be too. There’s not much for me to say because Katelyn Marie Durham, sister of Alpha Omicron Pi at Bowling Green State University, provided such an amazing, in-depth narrative of all the hard work her and her sisters did to make their “Welcome to the Jungle” Bid Day an event to remember!
We asked Katelyn to discuss 5 ways their chapter achieved the look of their Bid Day theme. This is what she said:
As the New Member Educator planning, Bid Day was the big beginning of my position but I could not have done it without the help of all of my amazing and talented sisters.
In achieving this theme the New Member Education committee worked closely with our Historian, Mikaela McBride in creating our Bid Day T-shirts. After many trials, we finally decided to keep our t-shirt design closest to our hearts as AOII, in using our mascot the panda as the visual design for the shirt and the special bid day quote on the back of the shirt, “Welcome to the Jungle… It’s PANDAmonium!”
Many of our decorations were made by hand with the help of my sisters and my committee, Madison Taynor, Haven Foster and Samantha Ryan. We used the resources available to us at the Teacher Resource Center (TRC) at BGSU. The TRC was where we made the welcome home signs, food labels, and each member’s name tags. In making the nametags I used a floral theme and made two different colored flowers, one color for new members and the other color for active members, therefore, we could get to know each other a little more throughout the day.
Our sisterhood has many sisters that have amazing artistic skill. Our sisters, Emma Powers, Isabel Wolke, Rachel Gross, Bailey Plummer (my little) and Anna Marie Sulminski helped me with our amazing banners displayed throughout the event. We had three banners. One hung in the foyer of our house in the Greek village, it said “Who can be humble, when you are the queen of the jungle”, with a lion wearing a jungle crown. The next banner was jungle themed with leaves and flowers and was hung in our chapter room for sisters to take pictures in front of, on the top of the banner it said “Bid Day 2018”. Our third banner was hung outside above our jungle themed painted pedestal for members to stand on and take pictures with. This was a very jungle-themed painted banner that had our mascot, the panda hanging from vines and bamboo and said “Alpha Omicron Pi”. This was hung outside to show our theme and fun bid day with the rest of the Greek village and community.
Luckily for us, in the process of planning and getting ready for our bid day, our sisters at the University of Toledo, Theta Psi chapter, also did a jungle-themed bid day! They were awesome in working with us and sharing some of their picture taking props with us. This was so fun to not only share our bid day with our new sisters, the rest of the greek community on campus but also our sisters 30 minutes away in Toledo as well. We had many other picture-taking props as well such handmade binoculars, made from duct tape and paper towel rolls; plant themed painted wooden letters, hand painted by my little, Bailey Plummer; and several fun animalistic headbands to wear in pictures.
Finally, the biggest and most time-consuming project was making handmade pillows for all 28 new members as gifts for joining our chapter. With the help of my advisor, Megan Quimby a member of our Alumni Advisory Committee, we were able to contact our alumnae sisters to donate their old AOII t-shirts and material to make these pillows with. This way the new members have a nice and cozy reminder of how long AOII has been around and everything we have done to make a difference through past philanthropy, social community service, and greek events.
Each new member received a gift bag at the end of their bid day that consisted of gifts from Greek Spirit Gear such as AOII cups, pens, and laptop stickers; welcome letters from myself as the New Member Educator, and the President, Kaylee Maneen; calendars for future AOII events, resources within the greek community and on campus; candy treats and our handmade AOII pillows.
We also asked Katelyn how she stayed organized while planning so many things for their amazing Bid Day. This is the advice she has for future New Member Educators:
The way in which I stayed organized throughout the entire process was by having all of the information regarding bid day on the same document. I constantly updated this document by crossing out tasks as they were completed, and adding more tasks as they were brought to my attention. It is very important to keep a separate file folder for all things Bid Day and New Member Information, therefore, you know exactly where to access it when you need it.
Communication is also very important when conducting an event as big as this. This includes communicating with all of the officers within your chapter, the correct representatives from BGSU and Sorority and Fraternity Life, your New Member Education representative of the Panhellenic Council, your advisor, and most importantly your entire chapter. I personally had my chapter vote on a specific list of bid day themes that I picked out, I noticed that in doing this the chapter felt more positive around the day as a whole because they felt they had a say in what was occurring.
I received help from almost all of the sisters in my chapter at some point throughout this process but I specifically want to point out the help I received from my committee members (Madison Taynor, Haven Foster, Samantha Ryan), Rachel Gross (our newly transitioned New Member Educator, Emma Powers and Bailey Plummer for staying up extra hours and working so hard to get everything done during the preparation process.
The amount of time that I spent planning this day started March of 2018 all the way until the night before Bid Day! Although I had to submit my bid day plans to our AOII Headquarters in March of 2018, the thought process and research started before that. The more you plan over the summer and get done the easier it is to transition back to school and get all of this planned in an efficient manner.
All of the planning, hand-made decorations, props, and gifts are a testament to the strength of this chapter’s sisterhood and the importance of welcoming their New Member class. The Alpha Psi chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi threw their 2018 New Members a Bid Day to remember and we can’t wait to see what they have in-store for their 2019 pledge class.